On Sunday, September 30, 2018, California enacted a watershed bill banning all companies headquartered in the state from having all-male boards.
Publicly traded firms in California are now required to have at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of 2019 or be penalized. According to the law, companies with five directors must add two women by the end of 2021, while companies with six or more directors are required to add at least three more women by the end of the same year.
With this bill, California has become the first state in the U.S. to mandate female board directors.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law along with other bills that “protect and support women, children and working families,” wrote the governor’s office in a release.
Some see California’s law as a crucial step towards establishing better parity in corporate leadership, which is gaining ground in a climate where Americans are increasingly preferring female leadership. A 2017 Harris Poll survey with Berlin Cameron and The Female Quotient reported that half of Americans (50%) prefer to work for a female-led company and majorities say women are more “purpose-driven,” “likely to offer childcare” and “likely to offer equal pay.” 71% of men and women agree that having a woman in a leadership position made them believe that they too could achieve a comparable role.